New BMW X7 M60i 2022 review
The new X7 M60i is no more powerful than the old M50i, but BMW claims it’s more efficient than before
It’s almost impossible to think of a justifiable use case for a car like the BMW X7 M60i. It's an expensive and inefficient 2.7-tonne behemoth, but those who do find themselves driving one will be in possession of a remarkably capable and surprisingly characterful luxury SUV. Like before, the X7 is borderline too big for UK roads, but few cars can carry seven with so much space to spare.
Some cars aren’t really built for British roads, whether they’re too big, too inefficient, or even too stiffly sprung. The UK market is unique – and buyers here are a picky bunch.
The BMW X7 certainly sits on the cusp of being a little too lardy for our environment; the US, China and Korea account for a whopping 75 per cent of sales, with Britain sitting someway further down the pile. At almost 5.2 metres long, two metres wide and over 1.8 metres tall, the X7 dwarfs cars like the latest Range Rover Sport. At 2.7 tonnes the BMW is heavier, too.
A huge profit driver for the brand, BMW's flagship SUV has now been updated. Its makers say it’s the “biggest life cycle [facelift] of any car we’ve ever done”, with changes including a completely new front end design, interior technology from the latest 7 Series, plus mild-hybrid technology now fitted across the range.
Sitting at the top of the lineup is this X7 M60i. While power and torque are unchanged versus the previous M50i, it’s actually a completely new engine taken from BMW’s M department. The hybrid system reduces load and improves initial response, while also helping boost fuel economy at lower speeds. But with figures of 21.9mpg and CO2 emissions of 292g/km, clearly not by much.
The entry-level 40i petrol and 40d diesel engines have also been refreshed, with the latter expected to take the lion’s share of sales when the new X7 arrives in the UK before the end of the year. Prices start from £83,295 for the xDrive 40d in Excellence trim, with the popular M Sport model costing £3k more.
Every X7 gets a panoramic glass roof, matrix LED lights and a two-part electric tailgate, as well as air suspension, parking cameras and heated front seats. M Sport adds sportier styling, different wheels and dark accents throughout, while the standalone M60i focuses mainly on performance, with some bespoke trim included too.
New look aside, it’s inside where the X7 arguably makes its biggest leaps. The centre console is cleaner, while the single-panel curved display looks great and the graphics are super sharp. The set-up runs BMW’s newer iDrive 8 software, seen in cars like the i4, iX and recently updated 3 Series. It’s more complex than ever; perhaps not quite as user-friendly, but certainly not lacking in depth of features.
Quality, as before, is excellent. The materials used feel befitting of the lofty price tag, and the tall driving position gives you a commanding view of the road. Space in every one of the X7’s seats is generous enough for adults – with the optional five-zone climate control only adding to the comfort levels on offer.
Speaking of comfort, the new X7 seems to ride well even on the biggest 23-inch wheels – the largest ever put on a production BMW. We’ll reserve final judgement on this fitment until we’ve tried them in the UK; as California roads are, for the most part, pretty smooth.
The engine is best described as brawny. Its accompanying exhaust note arguably sounds better outside than it does in, but it still emits a pleasing howl when you floor the accelerator. Power is plentiful, and the BMW’s eight-speed ZF gearbox is slick – with subtle but punchy shifts increasing driver involvement in Sport mode.
While body control is impressive for a car of this type – you can thank the active roll stabilisation system for that – you’re always aware of the X7's mass, and height. Once you learn to trust it, you can throw the huge SUV into surprisingly tight turns at a decent lick. The huge tyres, differential and xDrive all-wheel drive system lock you to the tarmac and refuse to let go.
Yet despite all this power and performance, the X7 will happily settle into a quiet cruise on the motorway. The climate control in our car was doing some pretty heavy lifting in the 35-degree Californian sunshine, but you were only ever aware of a muted background murmur from the hulking great V8. It’ll wake up in an instant though, should you decide you once again need that prodigious firepower.
|Model:||BMW X7 M60i xDrive|
|Engine:||4.4-litre V8 twin-turbo petrol|
|Transmission:||Eight-speed auto, four-wheel drive|